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 OBAMA ADMINISTRATION LIFTS HIV TRAVEL BAN

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Registration date : 2008-01-06

PostSubject: OBAMA ADMINISTRATION LIFTS HIV TRAVEL BAN   Wed Nov 04, 2009 8:47 am

WASHINGTON, D.C. − The Obama Administration today removed HIV-related travel restrictions to the United States, overturning a policy that had been in place since 1987.

HIV infection has been on the Immigration and Nationality Act’s list of “communicable diseases of public health significance,” meaning that HIV-positive foreign nationals could not enter the U.S. legally unless granted a waiver for a short-term visa by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The policy also denied citizenship to anyone living with HIV who applies for a green card. The rule lifting the ban – issued by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in the Federal Register – is effective as of Jan. 4, 2010.

“We are grateful to the Obama Administration for removing this unnecessary and unjust travel ban,” said Jeffrey L. Sturchio, president and CEO of the Council. “The United States is sending a clear signal to the world that it does not support stigma and discrimination towards people living with HIV.”

The policy to reverse restrictions on travel by HIV-positive foreign nationals was a part of the Lantos/Hyde Leadership Against AIDS, TB and Malaria Act of 2008 (HR 5501), which was enacted into law July 2008 by President Bush. However, the process to change regulations did not begin until the start of the new administration. The Global Health Council and a number of its member organizations recommended to then-President-elect Obama’s transition team that the ban be rescinded.

The new regulation eliminates any travel and immigration restrictions that are tied to a person's HIV status. HHS put the wheels of change in motion in late June by publishing the proposed rule to the Federal Register, triggering a 45-day public comment period. The final rule was issued today.

NOTE TO EDITORS: The final rule is available at http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/E9-26337.htm
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